Emerging Weapons Pipeline from Jordan


Jordan is “allowing some light arms to flow across the border,” according to Syrian rebels and an Arab official familiar quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

Several shipments of arms—including assault rifles, Russian-designed antitank missiles and ammunition—have been delivered to the border in Jordanian military trucks and then taken into Syria by rebel brigades, according to Syrian rebel fighters. Dozens of other shipments have been smuggled to Syria with the covert support of Jordanian border officials, these people say. Saudi Arabia and Qatar pay for these arms and transport them to Jordan, say rebel fighters based along the Syria-Jordan border and a person involved in arms procurement for the rebels.

Jordan is now playing a role in opposition military and intelligence matters, sources quoted by the WSJ say.
In June, Jordan’s capital served as the initial debriefing location for Brig. General Manaf Tlass, a general and personal friend of President Assad who defected in June 2012 that month. In August, Syrian prime minister Riad Hijab defected to Jordan.

Jordanian intelligence officials routinely host meetings with these Free Syrian Army leaders, helping facilitate their movement back and forth from Syria and discussing military strategy, people familiar with the meetings say. Jordan also allows American intelligence officials to question and cultivate contacts with defected Syrian military officials, these people add.

The Syrian groups receiving arms from the Jordanian border are now connected to the military councils that have been vetted by Washington and others, say people involved in the transaction.

Some of the light weapons said to be entering Syria through Jordan are destined for the southern Syrian border town of Dera’a […]. Most of the arms, though, were pushed north to the suburbs of Damascus, 60 miles north, in possible preparation for a push on the capital, according to rebel leaders.

Dera’a remains one of the last supply routes to rebels in the capital, with pathways from the Turkish border and around Homs too risky, rebel fighters say. They say regime forces have increased their presence in Dera’a in recent weeks, and many are hesitant to openly discuss the opening up of a new supply route they view as crucial.

“They know that the fall of Damascus goes through Dera’a,” said one rebel fighter […].

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